El Segundo offers creative tacos, craft margaritas and a terrific deck in both Vail and Eagle

El Segundo offers creative tacos, craft margaritas and a terrific deck

Craft tacos come with a variety of fillings, from Korean-style beef and Southern fried chicken to grilled mahi mahi and pork carnitas.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

The tacos are tasty, the tequila plentiful and the ambience lively. But what defines El Segundo in the summertime? That’s an easy one.

“Best deck in Vail,” said Dimitri Souvorin, chef-partner at the restaurant.

It’s hard to disagree. Overlooking Gore Creek and the Vail Whitewater Park, the lawn below might be filled with kids playing creekside, paddlers putting in and any number of people soaking up the sunshine and mountain air. Steps away is the Children’s Fountain —  “probably the best water feature for kids in the whole area,” said Souvorin. “We get parents on the deck enjoying a margarita, watching their kids playing in the fountain.”

The deck has a prime view overlooking Gore Creek.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

Heading into its fourth year, El Segundo has hit its stride. The globally inspired taqueria and tequila bar serves a wide array of fresh, made-from-scratch food and cocktails that are big on flavors and fun. The menu swings from shareable starters like ceviche and nachos to heaping rice bowls and smothered burritos.

“Fresh, light and from scratch — that’s really the big difference of how we do it.” Chef-partner Dimitri Souvorin, El Segundo Vail

“But the taco list is the heart and soul of our restaurant,” explained the chef. “We love the theme, we love being a taqueria. We love the variation.”

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The tacos are large — order two, maybe split an app and you can call it a day. Cruise the list and you’ll see non-traditional offerings such as the Hot Korean, with wagyu beef, Korean barbecue sauce and spicy kimchi, or the Seared Ahi with sesame sticky rice, cashew-ginger relish and tamari slaw. For the Grateful Veg, guajillo-roasted cauliflower and black beans are topped with corn-poblano relish and avocado. But there are also more classic Mexican flavors, like ancho-braised short ribs, citrus-brined pork carnitas and several fish options, from crispy cod to grilled mahi mahi. What they all have in common is Chef Souvorin’s approach to food.

“Fresh, light and from scratch — that’s really the big difference of how we do it,” he said.

And that same philosophy goes for the bar program.

“All of our syrups, all of our mixes, all of our juices are squeezed fresh,” he said. “Herradura Silver is our well tequila. Last I heard, El Segundo sold the second most Herradura Silver in the country.”

With more than 100 tequilas and mezcals, the list is daunting. But Souvorin encourages people to spend a little time with the bartenders, who are happy to put a tequila flight together. While the margaritas are the most popular — try Souvorin’s favorite, the house margarita, or get spicy with a Friend of the Devil — the other cocktails are fun, too. The restaurant puts its own spin on sangria, palomas and other Mexi-style options.

Ceviche with scallops, shrimp, fish and veggies, served with crispy corn tortilla chips.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

“We’ve got a big restaurant and a great crew of locals here,” he said. “It’s energetic, upbeat —this place is absolutely a fun bar-style restaurant. When Cameron Douglas and I opened El Segundo it was important to us, that it be a fun, approachable, family-style restaurant.” In fact, the duo did such a good job with it they opened a second location down in Eagle. Perfect after a day of mountain biking down-valley, El Segundo Eagle’s back deck looks over Brush Creek Park and serves the same menu, down to the fresh-squeezed margaritas and creative tacos. 

Sesame Sticky Bowl with grilled shrimp, toasted sesame sticky rice, tamari-garlic slaw, red radish, kimchi, pickled red onion, cucumbers and toasted peanuts.
Barry Eckhaus/EAT Magazine

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